Heart of a Lion, Hands of a Woman: What Women Neurosurgeons Do
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Friday, December 4, 2009

Blog Start up

After receiving some endearing notes from many of the authors of Heart of a Lion, Hands of a Woman:What Women Neurosurgeons Do, I was inspired to start a blog to allow all of the authors to hear what other authors were saying. I was also touched by a piece int he book that stated that there were no neurosurgeryMom websites to go to...so now there is. This site is for all women neurosurgeons-past, present, and future-all around the world.
I have visions that this site may allow parents of women neurosurgeons to comment on how they feel about their amazing daughters or how spouses, significant others, friends, siblings, or offspring view the pioneering women that we all are.
I would like to share just one touching story: I was recently at the University of Pittsburgh visiting my youngest (I can hardly call my 6"2", 240 pound son my baby, now can I?) at out first college "Parent's Weekend". My husband and I sat high up at Heinz field with Daniel and his friends watching Division I football on a glorious Saturday. In rapid succession, the Pitt Panthers scored a go ahead touchdown (they won the game) and I received a lovely e-mail from book contributors from both Chile and Iran. What a spectacular confluence of my professional and personal life!
I would love to hear your stories, see your pictures, meet those who have helped make your success possible.


  1. This is terrific. It will be great for us to have a forum to discuss personal and professional triumphs and challenges between meetings. I have always looked up to our WINS leadership as women who really have it figured out. I hope people can share some of the things they have done to help them achieve balance.

    One thing I have found particularly valuable is to appreciate and reward my staff. The PAs, MAs and OR staff can make or break the day. An hour less in turnover time can mean I'll be home in time to help with homework.

    I also found it helpful to have other MD mom friends who can pick up the kids or tag team clinical situations. I will watch my rad onc friend's son while she finishes our Gamma Knife procedure, etc...We sometimes divide up school holidays so that we don't have to take too much time off or find childcare for these days.

    One frustration has been then 6:30 am and 5-?pm meetings for various committees and business. I'm not sure there is a solution other than not to sign up for so many committees. I am getting better at saying "no".

  2. Saying "No" is one of the most important lessons I had to learn. I am still not as good at it as I would like but I keep learning! I try very hard to evaluate each request and ask: is it good for me? is it good for my career? is it good for my patients? is it good for my personal life (mostly family)? One "trick" I learned was to delay answering. All too often, a chair or CEO, or similar would ask me to be on a committee, help with a project, or similar and I would feel like I had to say "yes" and say it right away. What I learned to say was something like,: "I am thrilled that you asked me to participate in this worthwhile project. Can you tell me more specifically what is involved?" After hearing more, I might then say-let me think about this overnight. I want to make sure if I make this commitment to you that I can live up to the standards I want to. Or something similar.
    I also agree the early evening meetings are anti-family. I even became convinced that male doctors had long ago decided to have meetings then to avoid "hell hour" at home. In our family, once the kids were a little older, we set dinner time at 7 and had dinner together Sunday through Friday. Knowing this, I only attended meetings/dinners that conflicted with this on a rare and extremely important basis. It took time but I learned to say-that time just doesn't work for me and Ithink my input to this project is critical-let's find a time suitable to all of us.
    I would love all to share their insight and secrets! I still remember some of the gems others have shared_Gail Rosseau created a standing order for fresh flowers for her office every week! for example. I loved that idea and while I don't do it I do indulge in flowers for myself and the staff more readily after I heard her talk about it.
    I hope you will help us get others to join the blog and get many "strings" flowing